Summer problems loom

A snow survey by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) does not bode well for the summer months in areas that depend on the snowpack for water.

“Manual and electronic readings record the snowpack's water content at about 20 percent of average for this time of year,” a DWR statement read.

Department officials said the survey “found more bare ground than snow” in the Sierra, including around South Lake Tahoe.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has formed a Drought Task Force to plan for the expected water shortages. “DWR and other agencies will streamline transfers of water from areas of relative abundance to areas of critical need, monitor water supply impacts in small rural communities whose groundwater sources are stressed by prolonged dry conditions, and take other steps to mitigate the effects of dry weather,” the statement read.

Last year, at a time when water shortages affected mainly farming, wildlife and fire protection, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval designated the Division of Emergency Management, Division of Water Resources and the State Climatology Office to coordinate information but was unable to offer assistance. “I encourage affected Nevada farmers and ranchers to contact the federal Farm Service Agency's state office for assistance,” he said. This year, there is now the prospect of drought impact expanding to include municipal shortages.